Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally | Black Hills Travel Blog

Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

  • Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Monday, July 27, 2020
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Get your motor running! We’re closing in on the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Aug. 7-16, 2020, and it’s sure to be a good time for all in the motorcycle Mecca of the West. As you tune up your engines and start your checklist for your pilgrimage to western South Dakota, take a look at this blog of everything you need to prepare for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  

What to Expect

For all newcomers and non-bikers, the Black Hills and Badlands are a veritable paradise of motorcycle riding that brings in thousands of bike enthusiasts every year for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Rides like Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway, Badlands Loop and Vanocker Canyon are rites of passage for many bikers. Expect to see many bikes on the road during the Rally—be prepared to drive slower and check your blind spots carefully.

Most of all, keep an open mind and prepare for a good time! There will be visitors from all walks of life, a variety of concerts, incredible motorcycles, tasty food and great fun across the entire region.  


There’s always a concert happening during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and whether you’re looking for big name shows or smaller main street gigs, you’re sure to find it in the Black Hills and Badlands.

Drop by spots like the Knuckle Saloon, Iron Horse Saloon, and Loud American Roadhouse in Sturgis for free concerts daily.

Just outside of Sturgis City limits, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip also hosts free entertainment daily at the Big Engine Bar and CrossRoads. Their free bands in 2020 include Tumbleweed and Big Skillet. Catch their big name acts like Lita Ford, 38-Special and Night Rider every evening on the Wolfman Jack Stage.

Nonstop Events

The 80th Rally has brought with it a broad swath of uncharted territory. As such, this year’s Rallygoers are encouraged to be flexible with their schedule and keep an eye out for events updates, as changes in concerts, events and rides are ongoing. With that in mind, there are plenty of thrilling events all across Sturgis and the Black Hills and Badlands to keep the party going throughout all nine days. Tour the various bike shows or enter your bike and show it off, join a poker run, take a group ride, watch a race or just watch the traffic go by. 

For inspiration, take a look at our Sturgis Motorcycle Rally page to see a full list of Rally events, or check out our events calendar to see everything that's happening in the region. 

Unparalleled Riding

There’s no doubt that the Black Hills and Badlands have some of the most impressive scenery in the West for motorcycle riders. With dramatically curvy roads, craggy badlands and sweeping views of granite peaks and an expansive forest, the view is always breathtaking. The rides range anywhere from easy to challenging, so it’s rider’s choice. Take a look at our Motorcycle Map of the region to start planning your rides.

In addition to touring the area on your own, consider joining one of the group rides and experience the best of the region with the best riders. Cruise the Hills with a local, Aug. 7, 11 & 14 to see the lesser known parts of the Black Hills and Badlands and experience every hidden dip and curve. Early birds can take the Director’s Ride Aug. 5, or wait later in the week for the Legends Ride and Mayor’s Ride, both on Aug. 10.

Make sure to stop in at the Black Hills Visitor Information Center at Exit 61 on I90 to pick up maps, motorcycle maps, vacation guides on everything there is to do and see, and information from the knowledgeable guides.

What to Bring

Weather in the Black Hills and Badlands can be unpredictable, especially in August. While one day may be sunny and blistering hot, the next may bring chilly showers. Even in the matter of a few hours, the Black Hills can see large thunderstorms, as recent hailstorms have proved. Having a change of clothes or having layers for inclement weather is recommended. Raingear, potable water and sunscreen are especially encouraged for long rides in the Badlands area.

Staying Safe

While many small and local businesses do not require their customers to wear masks Rally attendees are encouraged to bring a mask with them. Many major chains like Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and Starbucks are now requiring customers to wear masks—in the event that you need to visit one of these locations, we recommend carrying a mask. Additionally, hand sanitizer is always a great travel item to keep close.      

For more safety recommendations and information, as well as event cancellations or changes, please read more at the City of Sturgis, Buffalo Chip, and Full Throttle’s websites, or check out this article from the Buffalo Chip. Additionally, some of our local businesses have taken extra precautions to make your Black Hills and Badlands visit safe and free from worry. Read more about the work they're doing on the "Staying Safe" page. Read more about conditions and recommendations on South Dakota Department of Tourism's page, statements from the City of Sturgis, or from the Buffalo Chip

After the Rally

As the Rally turns down and we once again inch closer and closer to autumn, it's still the perfect time to be out on a motorcycle, riding the Black Hills and Badlands. You can expect traffic to slow down, the weather to become gradually cooler with the shorter days, and the region to be as beautiful as ever. In short, though the concerts and vendors pack up, the fall transition makes the perfect time to get out and ride in western South Dakota. If you're aiming to miss the crowds and you're more interested in the Black Hills riding experience, this is the time of year for you. 

Despite the changes and potential challenges this year brings, Sturgis rides on and so do many bikers. Whether you join in on the Sturgis fun or visit the region afterwards, the Black Hills and Badlands riding experience will always stay the same. Unparalleled. 

Black Hills & Badlands is prioritizing safe travel.

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